You know how the joke begins--two guys walk into a bar and...everyone is looking at their smartphones. Consumers’ reliance (alright, alright--addiction) on their smartphones might be bad for dinner conversation and REM sleep, but it’s great for brands. Mobile is the most direct and intimate channel through which to engage consumers besides in-person. While it’s impossible to get face time with each and every one of your customers, it’s easy and scalable to reach people through their mobile devices. And not just reach them, but engage them in a unique and personalized way, making mobile the perfect vehicle to deepen relationships with customers. Need some help getting started? Keep reading to learn tips and tricks for increasing brand loyalty through mobile!
Integrate a loyalty program
First and foremost, if your brand wants to increase loyalty through mobile, you must integrate your loyalty program with your app. This sounds obvious, but there are also some unique advantages to doing so. Having a mobile loyalty program gives your brand the ability to collect first party data on users that can then be leveraged to improve the customer experience. This may be through offering discounts that are more relevant; determining better upsell opportunities based on browsing data and purchase history; using a user’s location to engage her in real time and more.
Personalize the experience with data
Bond Brand’s 2016 Loyalty Report revealed that Americans are members of an average of 13.4 loyalty programs, but active in just 6.7 of them. That’s because most companies have done little to differentiate their program and experience from that of competitors. In order to earn a permanent spot in consumers’ loyalty program portfolio, your brand has to offer a unique experience that is tailor-made to each customer. Brands need to understand their customers in order to provide a personalized experience. Understanding customers is made possible through data collection. And data collection is made possible through mobile. There are a few ways to leverage this data to deliver an ultra-personalized experience, which will ultimately lead to greater customer loyalty.
Incorporate features in your app that will encourage customers to identify their preferences and engage them accordingly and at the moment of impact. For example, the online retailer ShopBop enables customers to select their favorite designers or specific items as they shop and uses those preferences to send push notifications when new pieces by those designers have been added or when a selected item is low in stock or goes on sale.
Again, most brands are only doing loyalty on a transactional level, which isn’t really loyalty at all. In contrast to the currently favored approach of spray and pray discounting, brands can leverage a consumer’s purchase or browsing history to generate offers that are catered to each individual’s preferences. For example, the next time a customer who historically adds items to her cart without completing a purchase, send her a special offer for a percentage off one of the items she has been eyeing.
Consider the in-store experience. The best salespeople carefully observe shoppers as they pick up items to try on throughout the store, gaining an understanding of what colors, styles and items they might prefer. When they’ve gathered enough intel, they approach the customer with a few carefully selected pieces they think the customer might like. It is this attention to detail and the customer’s needs that helps to build personal relationships and a regular client base. In order to foster long lasting loyalty with customers, your app must provide the same type of personalized service as your best sales associates. Mobile enables brands to do this by leveraging consumers’ purchase history to algorithmically suggest others items they are likely to buy.
The tipping point from good to great personalization comes down to not just what you say, but when you say it. Brands can identify locational data to append to customer profiles the moment they happen and set rules for any of those attributes to trigger a personalized experience. For example, when a customer trips a geofence upon entering a brick-and-mortar store, send them a push notification to say welcome and that items they were browsing online are available in-store.
While most brands have barely scratched the surface of geo location, Nordstrom is ahead of the curve. Luxury Daily recently reported that Nordstrom is testing a program that will notify store employees when a customer who has reserved an item through the retailer’s app arrives in-store, which will then enable employees to arrange a dressing room with the customer’s items and name on the door.
What’s the best kept secret to build loyalty? Your existing customer base! Not only do repeat customers spend about 66% more than first-time customers, according to Loyalty360, but also they are more likely to recommend your brand to other like-minded consumers. A refer-a-friend program is the perfect mechanism to simultaneously encourage current customers to advocate for your brand and bring in new business and deepen loyalty to your brand for the referring customer.
While today’s savvy consumers tend to be skeptical of traditional advertising and claims touted by brands, they readily accept recommendations that come from other consumers. It comes as no surprise that conversion rates for referrals are higher compared to other channels with “Consumers rely[ing] on word-of-mouth 2x to 10x more than paid media,” according to Boston Consulting Group.
The first-party customer data that mobile gathers gives brands the opportunity to get to know their customers in a more intimate way than nearly any other marketing channel. However, that data is only beneficial if it’s leveraged to create a positive experience for customers. Make the most of your investment in the mobile channel and create a favorable impression of your brand by providing an ultra-personalized experience that will be sure to foster good-will and long lasting loyalty.
Americaneagle.com is a loyal Session M partner. We work together to provide your customers with exceptional mobile experiences to drive engagement and conversion. For more information on how we can help your mobile brand be the best it can be, contact Americaneagle.com today.